VE Day Isle of Man, 8 May 1945 Search of iMuseum

VE Day Isle of Man, 8 May 1945

Posted on 04.05.2020

‘This is “V” Day, the day which marks the end of the war in Europe; the day for which we have waited for five and a half bitter years’.  That’s how the Isle of Man newspaper Mona’s Herald gleefully reported VE Day to its readers on Tuesday 8 May 1945.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end in Europe.  Sadly this Bank Holiday normal street parties are out-of-the-question, but we can still relive VE Day by reading the Island’s newspapers and imagining what is was like to come out of war.

Using this is my round-the-Isle of Man delve into what happened on VE Day.  You can have your own VE Day experience when you search ‘VE Day’ at


Let’s start in the north, in Ramsey.

From his new place of business in Parliament Street, Mr A. F. Hughes, electrician, by means of a loud speaker, gave large numbers assembled in the street the opportunity of hearing the King’s VE Day speech. Afterwards music was turned on and there was an immediate response, dancing being carried on up to midnight by about 200 people.’ 

Ramsey Courier, 11 May 1945, p.4.


Further south in Laxey, a bonfire was being lit,

‘The youngsters of the village made sure their part in the rejoicing would not be overlooked and set fire to a patch of gorse on the brows near the Old School. Unfortunately the bonfire got beyond their control, and the local police sergeant and others had to come to the rescue to prevent it spreading and causing damage to property.’

Isle of Man Examiner, 11 May 1945, p.2.

But it was in Douglas where newspapers reported the most rowdy of rejoicing with the biggest crowds and the loudest noise.  And ice-cream.

…there was pandemonium for a little while in Douglas when the sounding of the last “All Clear” from the sirens vied with the blare of ships’ sirens and the pealing of church bells…

Naval men were in great force and provided great fun with their antics, and the Army paraded with greatcoats and caps back to front, complete with accordion and drums.

Long queues formed for ice cream, the making of which had just been permitted by revocation of the control order…

It was sheer bedlam going through Strand Street during the evening, with fireworks popping off all over the place.

In Hillside Avenue and Hillside Terrace…children and grown-ups danced to a barrel organ…

Chester Street rose to the occasion, mothers bringing tables out on the pavements and giving the children a tea and dance by lamplight under waving decorations. 

Many bonfires were built, the largest being on the “Tar Patch” opposite Noble’s Hall, an effigy of Hitler taking the place of the “Guy.” 

Night on the Promenade saw a lovely display of fireworks provided by the Services…

The Band of the Royal Naval School of Music played opposite the Villa Marina, in the morning, the Salvation Army Band played at the Jubilee Clock in the afternoon, and the Douglas Brass Band did their share later by the Villa.

Isle of Man Examiner Friday 11 May 1945 p.3.


In the Ancient Capital of Castletown children from the children’s homes waved flags, banged drums and went to the pictures,

‘In the evening Mr. Hall, manager of the Cosy Cinema, invited all the children to a free film show, which was greatly enjoyed.’

Isle of Man Examiner Friday 11 May 1945 p.8.

And finally in Peel.  Far from loud celebration, the mood there was one of hopeful restraint albeit colourful.

‘The celebration in Peel, as it should be, seeing that as yet the first stage has only yet been accomplished was of a quiet character. There was a very good show of flags and bunting, practically every street in town having a good show of colour.

With so many away in the Forces people generally were not in the mood for mad jollification, yet they did not lose sight of the magnitude of what had already been accomplished…

In the evening there were bonfires on the shore which attracted large crowds, the Pavilion Cinema, a dance at the Albert Hall and a whist drive at the Legion Clubroom…

With the beautiful mild weather and the prospect of another holiday, people were out and about until late and there appeared to be an absence of rowdyism.’ 

Peel City Guardian Saturday 12 May 1945 p.4.


And it is this quiet rejoicing, as well as the more obvious outpouring, which the Island’s newspapers so best conveyed and which now brings us close to that time.  Experience it for yourself at

‘But not all the rejoicing was of the boisterous kind. In churches throughout the Island people gave thanks to God for the great victory, and in the homes of the people there was quiet rejoicing that loved ones would be safe and that many would soon be home.’

Isle of Man Times Saturday 12 May 1945 p.4


Jude Dicken (Miss)

Collections Information Manager

Manx National Heritage

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